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AIBU to think that homeless people should be grateful if somebody gives them food

(303 Posts)
summeriscoming Wed 25-May-16 12:28:18

So I'm feeling a bit upset. I got out of the tube station a saw a homeless man sitting on the floor. He was in a bad shape so I decided to get him some food (firstly, I don't like giving money and secondly I didn't have any change). I went out of my way to get him food and drink and cake from sainsburys. I gave it to him and he said 'I don't want it, I want money'. I said 'I don't have any money but I'm giving you food and drink'. He said 'If you give me money I can buy food myself'. 'But I'm giving you food'. 'I don't want it, give me some money.'
So I walked off. I wanted to do something nice and he threw it in my face.
I know homeless issues are very complex but still AIBU to think that he should accepted what I was giving him. Or should I only ever give money (which I don't like doing)?

Sunnsoo Wed 25-May-16 12:32:10

You sound lovely, op. flowers

Rude people are in all corners of life. This chap was rude.

However, keep being kind to those less fortunate. Most will be glad.

Shallishanti Wed 25-May-16 12:32:25

you could have asked him if he wanted some food/what food he would prefer
If he declined the food you offered you should have left him alone

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 25-May-16 12:34:46

How fuckin rude was he. Beggars can't be choosers. Yes a harsh statement, but a true one none the less.

NewNameNotTheSame Wed 25-May-16 12:34:52

I hate this idea that homeless people should just take whatever random food is thrust upon them by mostly well meaning strangers. They have tastes and preferences too. And whilst he was rather rude to you, it probably would have gone down better to approach him first and ask him to come with you to the shop to pick something and you'd pay.

Most want the cash to spend on things that aren't food and drink, and tbh that's fine too... Their life, whatever gets them through the hard day's they face I suppose. It's up to you whether you want to play part in enabling that or not.

You tried to do a nice thing at the end of the day, don't dwell on it too much.

abbieanders Wed 25-May-16 12:35:07

Why were you harassing this man into accepting food from you? From one point of view, you decided what you thought he should want and then tried to force him to accept it. Now you feel all hard done by because he didn't assess his needs in the way you did.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Wed 25-May-16 12:35:34

Yes YABU. You give because you want to help, not to incur gratitude. You don't have to give anything, but why should homeless people be so abject that they have to like whatever they're given? It's no good expecting to be greeted like lady bountiful - yes, he was rude if he said that, and perhaps could have pretended to be grateful even though for whatever reason he didn't want your sandwich.

But if we expect them to have so little humanity that they must joyfully gobble up whatever they're given, why do we expect them to have enough to feign gratitude for it?

I think if you're going to give, you should give money. If you don't want to or can't - fine.

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 25-May-16 12:35:44

I would have even discussed it with him. I'd have said. Take it or leave it.

summeriscoming Wed 25-May-16 12:36:12

I did say 'Would you like some food?' (even before I got it out of my bag) and straightaway he said 'I don't want food, I want money'. So he wasn't really interested what sort of food it was...

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 25-May-16 12:36:28

Wouldn't. not would.

Samcro Wed 25-May-16 12:37:27

he is a person

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Wed 25-May-16 12:37:33

Maybe it would have been wiser to ask him if he wanted some food before buying it, then, to save yourself a wasted trip? Because otherwise that's a question to which you're only prepared to hear one answer, isn't it?

LadyV90 Wed 25-May-16 12:38:07

No I don't think you ABU if he was genuinely homeless and down on his luck surely he would be grateful for any help or kind gesture. I can understand he may have wanted the cash to choose something himself but I can see why you wouldn't want to do.

I don't give money to people begging on the street after reading an interview about someone who was in a fairly well paid job but use beg on the way home from work for a bit of extra spending money.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 25-May-16 12:38:49

He said he didn't want it, so you should probably just have said "Sorry, I don't have any money" and left it at that.

They're not obliged to take any food you offer just because they're homeless.

summeriscoming Wed 25-May-16 12:40:08

OK. I hear you. I'll approach this differently next time x

ilovesooty Wed 25-May-16 12:40:14

I'm sure there are plenty of people who think the homeless / rough sleepers etc should know their place. hmm

Iliveinalighthousewiththeghost Wed 25-May-16 12:40:32

Yabu. He is a person
Yeah and so is OP. Trying to do something good.

Lweji Wed 25-May-16 12:44:15

While many homeless people have financial problems and can't find accommodation, etc, many that end up on the streets have primarily mental health problems.
Just on that alone, I'm not surprised that he didn't react in the way you, me or most people would expect.

I don't give money in general, but giving food does take the little sense of self-esteem many people in need have. By giving food you have made the choice for him. Even if he was going to spend it on drugs or drink.
It is possible that he was fairly well fed, but did need the money for other things.

HermioneJeanGranger Wed 25-May-16 12:44:27

Yeah, but once he's said no, why push it? Offering food isn't the problem, but repeatedly getting him to take it is a bit...overbearing, maybe?

Don't worry about it, OP.

MrsWalterBishop Wed 25-May-16 12:45:01

I can't believe some of these replies! confused
You tried to do a nice thing. It wasn't wanted. I think the majority of people would be grateful for food and a warm drink, etc.
You sound lovely OP. flowers

HazelBite Wed 25-May-16 12:49:14

The Op was being caring. I work in Central London and will never give money to beggars/the homeless. The majority are grateful for a hot drink and a sandwich and appreciate food for their dogs (if they have them) The are so many people who are not genuine and are making a living out of begging, people prefer to give food rather than cash.

abbieanders Wed 25-May-16 12:51:54

Good for you, OP. It's no easy to take heavy criticism on board so graciously.

SeekEveryEveryKnownHidingPlace Wed 25-May-16 12:51:58

Can't hurt to ask though, can it?

howtorebuild Wed 25-May-16 12:54:38

I wouldn't dream of not asking what food or drink he wanted first, I have never been spoken to as you were as a result. You do a good deed for them, not you. shock six of one, half a dozen of the other.

ElsaAintAsColdAsMe Wed 25-May-16 12:55:04

You were trying to help, you got it a bit wrong.

We've all done it in one way or another.

Ask in future, this is what I usually do and have rarely been asked for food as many charities provide this, I have bought everything from gloves and hats to deodorant and wipes or just having a chat when I've offered.

Don't let this put you off helping in future, just approach it in a different way.

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